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a380: Haitian leader visits neighbor Dominican Republic (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
SANTO DOMINGO, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Haitian President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide visited the neighboring Dominican Republic on Wednesday for talks
expected to include a Haitian request for the return of the alleged
mastermind behind a coup attempt last month.
Dominican authorities so far have declined to hand over former Haitian
senior police officer Guy Philippe, saying they are looking for a third
country willing to take him in.
Haiti has said Philippe, whose movements are being restricted by
Dominican authorities, was the mastermind of an attack by some 30 armed men
on Dec. 17 on the presidential palace in Port-au-Prince. Some 13 people
died in the attack and in retaliatory street violence that followed in the
capital and other cities.
Aristide has said he intends to urge his Dominican counterpart,
Hipolito Mejia, to hand over Philippe.
The Haitian leader also was likely to call for tighter border security
between the two countries, which share the island of Hispaniola. Haitian
authorities have said part of the group of people who carried out the
attack entered Haiti from over the border.
Aristide, whose visit was previously planned, arrived with a large
delegation of aides and business people on a visit that also was designed
to boost cooperation on a range of issues including the sticky topic of
The Dominican Republic, with a population of about 8 million, is host
to hundreds o???Haitians, many of them without papers and many of them
working in the sugar and construction industries and on farms.
Many come because prospects are better than in Haiti, the poorest
country in the Americas, but Dominican authorities send home thousands of
illegal migrants every year.